The Dallas Cowboys, once called “America’s Football Team,” won’t be allowed to honor assassinated Dallas police officers by sporting a tiny sticker on their helmets.
The National Football League decided the team’s tribute to the Dallas Police Department isn’t fitting.
The “Arm in Arm” decal, which was permitted in training camp and practice, will not be allowed during preseason and regular season games, The Dallas Morning News reported.
“Everyone has to be uniform with the league and the other 31 teams,” Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones said after practice Wednesday. “We respect their decision.”
The “Arm in Arm” campaign began as an innocent gesture to pay tribute to five lawmen who were gunned down July 7 by Micah Xavier Johnson. Nine others were injured.
On July 30, when the Cowboys opened training camp, Dallas Police Chief David Brown joined Mayor Mike Rawlings, the players and families of the slain officers walked arm-in-arm onto the field.
The show of unity and the idea for the five-point decals were initiated, in part, by Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, according to the Morning News.
The Dallas Police Department said in a statement it appreciated the support.
“Their concern for the families of our fallen officers, the Dallas Police Department, and the City of Dallas is what matters most, and we know that support will continue for the immediate and long term future,” the department said in a statement
The Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation, however, was unhappy with the news, telling TMZ, “We are extremely upset by their decision.”
“The NFL had an opportunity to be leaders and advocates for change in law enforcement,” the organization’s president, Sgt. Demetrick Pennie, said. “These are our friends and our loved ones … it hurts to not have the NFL fully support us.”
— Dallas Fallen (@DallasFof) August 11, 2016
Jones, meanwhile, defended the league’s decision.
“There are so many wonderful, wonderful causes, the league has to be careful. If you allow one, then what do you do about every team that has a great reason to have something on their helmets?” Jones said. “There are tons of things out there that need to be recognized. Once you open that Pandora’s box, how do you ever stop?”
While Jones seemed to make a good point, the reality is that Pandora’s box has already been opened.
Back in 2012, a decal honoring the victims in the Newton, Connecticut, shooting was allowed by the NFL and was worn by the New York Jets, the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to wear a decal honoring the memory of their former coach, Chuck Noll, in 2014.
But the Dallas Cowboys will open the preseason against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday sans the decal on their helmets.
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